The WWE has included celebrities in big events since the 80s, when luminaries like Cyndi Lauper and Mr. T participated in the first Wrestlemania at Madison Square Garden. Now it’s common to see actors, musicians, and boyfriends of Britney Spears on Monday Night Raw, sometimes serving as guest hosts. In the 90s, a whole host of celebs breezed their way through WWE’s doors, including a very special appearance by the one and only Chuck Norris, who kicked “Double J” Jeff Jarrett in the grill piece.
So, it came as no surprise that the legendary Leslie Nielsen would become part of the show, which regularly included the kind of farcical bits and slapstick antics that the actor had become know for in Police Squad! and The Naked Gun series. Being that today is Nielsen’s birthday, what better way to honor the man than by revisiting the time he embodied his super sleuth character to find out why there were two Undertakers prowling the WWE.
First some background. When The Undertaker battled Yokozuna at the 1994 Royal Rumble in a casket match, it took a gang of men — along with Yoko — to finally place ‘Taker in the coffin for the win. As they pushed the sealed coffin down the aisle, thick smoke emerged, ominous lights doused the entrance way, and ‘Taker appeared on the screen vowing to make his return one day. Fast forward a few months, and “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase claimed that he’d brought back The Undertaker (DiBiase helped debut ‘Taker in 1990), but the wrestler looked a bit different. Paul Bearer — the manager of the real Undertaker — claimed that DiBiase was lying, that his charge was an imposter, and that the real Undertaker would be back very soon. Crazy, right? (Imposter ‘Taker was played by Brian Lee, who also had a stint in ECW.)
So, who could take on the case and find out where the real Undertaker was? Only Leslie Nielsen could. Leading up to the Summerslam 1994 event, WWE played this vignette showing Nielsen’s search for clues.
At Summerslam, another vignette was shown — this one semi-live — in which Nielsen stalked the backstage area and seemingly stumbled upon ‘Taker, who turned around to reveal it was actually his partner George Kennedy from The Naked Gun. The supercops made their way down the entrance and played to the crowd as the real Undertaker appeared behind them, much to the delight of the fans.
The pair then returned backstage and found Undertaker’s coffin. The case was “closed.” Yeah, it’s really a poor segment, but it’s great just to see Nielsen part of the act. Happy Birthday Frank Drebin!
You can watch the full Summerslam video here.